Feb. 13, 2011
GAINESVILLE, Fla. (seminoles.com) – Florida State senior Drew Kittleson finished in a tie for first place but lost the individual championship on the fourth playoff hole to Florida’s Andres Echavarria and the Seminole men’s golf team finished in seventh place in the team standings as play in the Gator Invitational at the Mark Bostick Golf Course at the University of Florida came to a close. Kittleson shot a 69 in the final round to pull into a four way tie for first in the individual standings with Kittleson and Echaverria playing for a sudden victory on the fourth playoff hole after Florida’s Bank Vongvanij and Phillip Choi were eliminated from contention during the first three playoff holes.
Echavarria outdueled Kittleson on the final playoff hole as he carded an even par four as compared to Kittleson’s one over par five to win the individual championship. Kittleson was playing for the third championship of his Seminole career after winning individual titles at the Fall 2009 GolfWeek Challenge and at the Spring 2010 NCAA Central Regional Championship. Kittleson and Echavarria were equal on the par four hole No. 1, the par three hole No. 2 and the par five hole No. 3. Choi was eliminated after two holes and Vongvanij was eliminated after the third hole leaving Kittles and Echavarria to battle for the win on the fourth, and what turned out to be, deciding hole.
“I am proud of and very happy for Drew,”said Head Coach Trey Jones. “He is a great player when he is near the lead. That is a intangible that you either have or don’t have. He did what you want your senior to do. He put us on his back and carried us. Before the event he talked about how much he wanted to win a tournament in Gainesville.”
Florida, with three players tying for the individual championship, gained the championship of the tournament on their home course. The Gators outdistanced Auburn by nine strokes and LSU by 18 strokes. Florida State played its best round of the tournament as it counted two under par scores in finishing in seventh place.
Kittleson (Scottsdale, Ariz.) began his third round well with a birdie and marched toward first place in the individual standings during the remainder of the round. He began under par, stayed under par throughout the entire round and was as many as three strokes under par in catching Echavarria who spent the first two rounds in first place by himself. Echavarria was one over par for the round and two strokes worse than Kittleson on the day to open the door for the Seminole senior.
Junior Brooks Koepka (Wellington, Fla.) played his best round of the spring season as he shot an even par 70. His score in the third round allowed him to move up seven spaces in the individual standings and finish tied for 18th. He carded more birdies in the third round (five) than he did in his first two rounds combined (three). Koepka was never more than two strokes over par in the third and final round after being at as many as four strokes over par in both the first and second rounds.
Senior Kyle Cobb (Tallahassee, Fla.) continued to play well as he duplicated his score from the first round – a three over par score of 73. Playing in his second event as a Seminole after transferring from UCF prior to the fall 2009 season, Cobb finished with a 224 total and tied for 41st place in the individual standings. Junior Wesley Graham (Port Orange, Fla.) played his best round of the fall season with a three over par score of 73.
Five of the Seminoles’ six Seminole players either tied or played their best round of the tournament in the third round.
“This team is not where I want them to be at this point,” said Jones. “Most of the things that we need to improve on are things we can control as a team.”
Florida State plays in its next event at the John Hayt / Sawgrass Invitational at the at the Sawgrass Country Club in Ponte Vedra, Fla. Feb. 27-March 1.
SunTrust Gator Invitational/Par 70/Final Florida State Results Mark Bostick Golf Course/University of Florida/Gainesville, Fla./Feb. 12-13, 2011 7/14. Florida State 295 289 285 869 T1. Drew Kittleson 72 69 69 210 18. Brooks Koepka 72 74 70 216 T41. Kyle Cobb 73 78 73 224 T46 Wesley Graham 78 75 73 226 T46. Bjorn Hellgren 76 76 74 226 * T48 Joaquin Lolas 79 71 77 227 *playing as an individual
SunTrust Gator Invitational/Par 70/Final Team Results Mark Bostick Golf Course/University of Florida/Gainesville, Fla./Feb. 12-13, 2011 1. Florida 844 8. Lamar 873 2. Auburn 853 9. Ole Miss 875 3. LSU 862 10. UAB 899 4. North Florida 877 11. Jacksonville 901 5. UCF 867 12. Mississippi State 903 6. Coastal Carolina 868 13. Georgia Southern 909 7. Florida State 869 14. Georgia State 911